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Mixology 101  Nicotine Storage
Piratevape has given a very good guide to storing Nic

With the E.U. TPD regulations just around the corner, one way to minimise their effects on your vaping is to stock up with some 7.2% Nicotine Base so you can continue to make your own e-liquid the way you like it. Piratesvape are specialists in providing Nicotine Base packaged specifically to make storing nicotine a matter of buying it, unpacking it and putting it in the freezer. BUT you say - why freeze it? how do I freeze it? how long will it last? Read on...... 

Nicotine WILL NOT degrade if it is 100% pure and nitrogen sealed in dark glass bottles and kept at a low temperature. That's how professional labs keep it so it’s as close as a fact as you will get when it comes to nicotine storage! Obviously, you aren’t going to be able to achieve all those criteria at home (you won't have 100% pure nicotine being the main one) BUT the majority of us could accomplish two of those important criteria. 

Once you add other chemicals such as PG or VG into the bottle and can't remove all the oxygen then degradation occurs. At what rate and the effect is open to question as no one has actually kept PG or VG nicotine base in a freezer for more than about 5 years so far but it will degrade to some degree even if you do keep it in your freezer. The issue really is with the oxygen either from air trapped in the bottle or through energy put into the chemical system via light (UV) breaking down the dilutant (PG or VG), which unfortunately being organic compounds have oxygen in their make up. It's fine normally because the oxygen in the dilutant is attached to a hydrogen, making a diol (O-H) and will not compete for the nicotine but if you add energy into the system the one single covalent bond between the oxygen and the hydrogen can be broken and you have the issue of the spare oxygen running around causing problems. This is the reason to keep the nic base in amber glass bottles and is the same reason that nicotine is kept nitrogen sealed in labs - so there are no spare oxygen atoms. Keeping the nicotine base at low (freezer) temperatures also slows down the movement of the molecules, which obviously slows down any chemical reactions.

Oxygen is nicotine’s main enemy, it converts it to nicotine oxide in an oxidation reaction and nicotine oxide being a charged molecule has free electrons, this is why the colour change occurs (free electron movement between the atomic energy levels). These free electrons can also target other substances in e-liquid such as flavourings and changes their chemical structure, which coincidentally is the reason why e-liquid has a shelf life.

Storage Basics

Always buy the highest % nicotine base you can buy (currently 7.2% legally in the UK) as the less PG/VG you have in the bottle the better and always buy the best quality, the freshest base you can find to start off with.

What to store it in?

Nicotine base should be stored in dark amber glass bottles to stop UV degradation and potential chemical leaching caused by plastic bottles.

How to store it?

Depending on your usage if you bought 1 litre+ bottles then you should decant it into smaller quantity bottles containing the amount you would probably use in 3 or 4 months so that you aren't exposing the majority of the nicotine base to more oxygen every time you want to use it. Once you open a bottle it’s best to store it in a fridge if possible rather than just a shelf at room temperature and ALWAYS out of sunlight. It is worth noting that PG nicotine base remains fairly free-flowing even straight out of the freezer but VG base turns into a gel and will need several hours at room temperature to be useable.

Where in the freezer to store it?

Purely from a safety point of view, it is best to store it at the bottom of the freezer so that if it does leak it doesn't contaminate anything else in the freezer. I know that some people have a separate freezer for their nicotine base but plenty just stick it in with rest of the families shopping! Make sure that the bottle is clearly labelled, not for you but for the other people using the freezer. If you have young children it would be very wise, if not essential, to buy a small freezer to keep in the garage or similar just for your nicotine stocks.

What's better, PG or VG as the Dilutant?

A personal preference really but with regards to degradation then VG has an extra O-H functional group (3 compared to 2 in PG) so it is possible that if degradation did take place it would be quicker in the VG. However VG has a better shelf life than PG, 2 years compared to 1 year generally AND VG’s viscosity works in its favour for once as the more viscous a liquid the less the molecules move about …… so it’s probably 6 of one half a dozen of the other really as to which is best! 

How long will it last?

It would be expected to possibly see and experience noticeable degradation after 5 -10 years storage either in taste or colour. Strength drop would need chemical analysis once someone has stored it for that long to determine but it is believed by many that it won't be anywhere near half.

What not to do

Leave the bottles alone! The less they are disturbed the better. DO NOT open the bottles if you don't need to and never shake them as this introduces oxygen to more of the nicotine base rather than just the surface.
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